What Can Gaming Developers Find With Data Analysis?

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    Modern companies in virtually every industry can benefit from data analysis. This is something we’re beginning to accept blindly as a general statement. However, it can always be interesting to look into what any specific business or industry can hope to gain through big data, and in this case, we’re looking at a fairly complex one: the world of gaming. Considering all aspects of this world though, including mobile, console, and online gaming, these are a few of the things related companies can hope to achieve through data analysis.

    Payment Model Assessment

    Perhaps the most important information data analysis can provide for a game development company pertains to monetization. Across various mediums, modern video games adopt all sorts of different payment models. Some games can still be purchased on store shelves; some can be bought online and downloaded; some games, such as those in the casino category, can be paid for according to activity; and some, primarily in the mobile space, are free, but incentivize in-game purchases that can add up over time. Naturally, each model produces different data and requires different strategies. By and large, though, developers can seek to compile data in order to determine the lifetime value, which is to say the worth of an individual gamer over the course of his or her time with the game. This information can, in turn, serve as the foundation for an analytics-based strategy for how to target and retain new gamers. It can also help developers to put together more accurate earnings projections. 

    Popularity Among Similar Games

    One issue that developers in the modern world of gaming run into is that too many games are similar to one another. It’s very difficult to invent something entirely new, and very easy, by comparison, to fit into a crowded genre or trendy category. Fairly basic analysis, however, can help a development company get a feel for what can make a given game stand out even among similar competitors. The casino space may provide the best examples in this case, because it’s comprised of categories that in some cases include hundreds of similarly-styled experiences. In the UK, there are actually aggregator sites that compile information about and links to games from different developers, and as one such site points out, a site like this can do the research for you when it comes to comparing options. Developers can use these kinds of platforms to compare data between competitive games, or else do more of the leg work on their own where aggregator platforms aren’t already present. The point here though is that data can uncover what differentiates games that seem similar. 

    Optimized Game Design

    One fairly thorough (if somewhat scattered) write-up on data and analytics in game development introduced an interesting idea: capturing the essence of fun.

    How exactly this can be done isn’t easily defined, and differs from one game to another. The concept, though, is at the core of analytics’ utility in video games. Basically, analysis of player data and tendencies can reveal, or at least hint at what those players are spending the most time on, or what they’re enjoying the most. It could be that a sizable analysis reveals something as simple as which characters players select most to play with in games, or which stages or missions they return to multiple times. Or the findings could be more complex. One way or another though, large-scale analysis can reveal on a near-factual basis what’s most fun to most people, and thus allow developers to act accordingly.

    Disclaimer: This post is a contribution from William Miller, freelance writer and blog contributor. He focuses primarily on gaming, tech, and finance